The stillness allows you to hear drips of dew as they find their way, falling through dense foliage. A thin veil of mist lingers over the lawn, faintly glinting in the first, gentle rays of the sun. Chirruping carries from every corner of the garden, forming a choir of voices attempting to breach one another. Life in the countryside is different from the melting pot of a city I normally live in. Perhaps a bit slower, but for that matter not necessarily less eventful. It’s simply a question of things being different. Of different activities, different sounds, and different silences. Silences I wonder if I might have forgotten what they sound like.
Maybe because silence is always relative in the Middle East. Amid the constant blare of Dubai’s growing pains, noise cannot be escaped. In a city reaching for the sky, the hammering from nearby construction is always present. The sounds become the pulse of the city, and eventually, you barely notice it. Even if the hustle and bustle of the street carry through walls void of isolation, alongside a heat so inhumane the air-conditioning must be on during all hours of the day. A subtle humming you come across in every house, in every apartment, and at the same time, you’ve forgotten what the wind sounds like.
Sometimes, I feel as if I don’t know what to do with this kind of silence anymore. To think that somewhere along the lines of the last few years rapid pace, I’ve neglected and allowed for this form of quietude to consign to oblivion, is difficult to grasp. At the same time, I suppose it happens so easily. That whilst living a life constantly on the go, you make a norm out of compromising almost everything. People you hold dear, but barely make time to see. Plans you set aside for ideas born in spurs of moments. Noise you’ve forgotten how to switch off, and instead learned to live with. Social gatherings you physically attend to, without really being present. Stressed by the demand of being in several places simultaneously, jaded by the impossibility of the same. Eyes that always wonder and ears that hear, but don’t listen. Life itself, which so often takes place right in front of you, in the person sitting there, but whose rightful attention is rather given to a screen. And the faster life spins, the easier it gets. The easier it gets to overlook more and more what’s actually important.
In wake of everything that’s happened this year, there’s an opportunity for most of us to re-evaluate. Perhaps it all comes down to simply shifting one’s focus, in order to accomplish change. I believe it’s one thing to look up at what you’ve got, and a whole other to see it’s value. And maybe that’s just it, it’s the thoughtlessness that we find ourselves missing in the new normal, a normal that rightfully demands thoughtfulness. It was so easy to simply exist and tell yourself that you lived loud and clear, instead of actually doing just that. To not make the time, despite there being plenty of it. For whatever was important. Not simple, but necessary. So so necessary.
The steam of the coffee rise in the brisk morning. A tractor thunders by on the road outside and interrupts the silence for a moment. And just precisely here, somewhere in between the bustle of a big city far away, and the serenity of a life lived on the fringe of fields and forests, it feels good to sit down and reflect for a moment. A rare luxury to be reunited for some time, with the country I left behind seven years ago. Time to run, walk, saunter, or to stand perfectly still instead of roving around. Time to ask questions, and listen to the replies. Time to re-do, and maybe, do better? Time to think, ponder, and allow for thoughts to mature. All the time in the world. Time to slowly allow for all the powerlessness of this year to dissipate, and make way for something new.